stopping off at Barry Island we travelled west to
Coney Beach turned out to be a real find with the
latest thrill rides standing alongside historic
Back in 1981 it seemed there was still place for
some of the old favourites while the park owners had
also introduced modern rides.
There was also a number of attractions which you
would not normally find at an amusement park.
At the very front of the park was a gravity ride
that seemed pretty common place back in the 80s but
is now a very rare sight indeed - the Water Chute.
Coney Beach's version had arches of lighting on the
lift hill and downward chute with two towers at the
This circular chute had been built in 1936. It was
the only chute I have ever seen with a painted mural
in its centre. It made an imposing sight as you
walked along the seafront.
Most of the roundabouts were built up in two lines
in the centre of the park.
Originally there had been a large boating pool in
the middle of the park but this must have been
filled in some time in the 70s to make room for more
Starting off the first line was a Reverchon
Matterhorn, which was very similar in design to the
ones at Rhyl and Barry Island.
Immediately following this was a Pinfari Cyclone
Coaster, identical to the one which had once stood
at Rhyl, and behind this was a large six lane
Following on from these was Crole's Waltzer which
traditionally painted and had one of those strange
number boards hanging under its front canopy.
I think the idea was to act as a countdown once the
ride had started so that would be riders could see
how long they had to wait until it was their turn.
the back corner was the Hurricane, which had
recently been imported from America.
This was a smaller version of the Swingaround, but
instead of the six arms flying out alternately all
of the four seater cars would be raised and lowered
at the same time.
The effect always reminded me of somebody opening
and closing a spinning umbrella.
It had an orange and white colour scheme with neon
lighting up its central column.
Now my memory goes a little hazy as there was a ride
called the Krazy Cars. I recall this being a
short-lived version of the popular Dodgems.
The cars were circular with large inner tubes
They could be rotated through 360 degrees as they
were driven round a small track.
I don't think that they ever really caught on.
Coney Beach also had its own set of Dodgems, which
was a modern plastic moulded track.
Starting on the second row, adjacent to the Water
Chute, was a Maxwell lifting Paratrooper, or
This has 12 cars as opposed to the Bennett version
which only had 10 cars. The hoods were painted red,
yellow or blue.
Next came a Round Up - a spinning cage ride where
passengers stood up and were pinned to the side as
it lifted to an angle thanks to centrifugal force.
Also in this area was an Astroliner rocket simulator
and a Scrambler Twist.
In my opinion the latter ride did not have a floor
and looked less ornate than the Cyclone Twists of
the time that came with floors.
Then came John Crole's Golden Gallopers - a three
abreast set that is no longer at the park.
Another once popular ride stood in this line - the
Hurricane Jets; the rocket cars were raised and
lowered by riders who controlled their flight with a
I always remember the 'hiss' of the jets as they
came back down to earth.
At the end of this line was a recent arrival, the
I think this was manufactured by Huss and it can
only be described as a larger version of the
Tri-Star which you might be lucky to spot at your
local travelling fairground today.
The cars seemed to go much higher and swing out more
on this version.
The great thing about Coney Beach was that it had
lots more rides and attractions around the perimeter
of the park which effectively created a barrier to
the outside world.
On the side nearest to the town was a long line of
side stalls and one of the park's dark rides the
This was a ghost train but with a couple of steep
inclines and 90 degree turns along its route.
The other wall of the park had a whole host of
amusements to keep visitors occupied starting off
with a second Ghost Train.
Next door was Louis Tussauds Waxworks.
I never went inside so couldn't vouch how authentic
exhibits were or if it was a case of 'four shop
dummies dressed in uniforms and labelled Bucks
Next in this row was the World Cruise, an indoor
boat ride past a variety of scenes, similar to the
At the back of the park was a Fun House, which had
been opened in the mid 70s.
I think the building might have originally been a
Like the Barry Island version Modern Products
provided the novelties such as a joy wheel and
There was also a Wall of Death, where motorcyclists
performed stunts while riding round the inside of a
A wooden Lighthouse Helter Skelter stood next to the
park's wooden Big Dipper.
Little did I realise that this was to be the figure
eight coaster's last season.
It had stood at the park since 1920 and had the
words 'Coney Beach' in cut out letters on top of the
You went round the course in four seater cars and I
remember there was only a small handle to hold to
keep you in place!
This ride really belonged to a bygone era and it's a
shame that it was razed to the ground.
this wasn't the end to the delights you could find
at the Porthcawl park.
There was also a Model Village and Monster Park,
which was packed full of 'life-like' pre-historic
Although I think I have recalled most of the
attractions there is one, which I know existed, but
I have no recollection of what it actually was.
It was called the Magic Cavern - Any ideas anybody?